Some rock bands are formed great, some achieve greatness, while others have it thrust upon them for the allotted fifteen minutes only to have it snatched away by the whims of a fickle public and the sophomore jinx.
Then there’s the none-of-the-above, no-hit wondrous Sixties-saurs the Truants. As recounted in Bill Scheft’s amusing and unassuming nostalgia-luxe novel, Time Won’t Let Me, these prep school underachievers will never be mistaken for The Only Band That Matters or The Future of Rock and Roll--nor its saviors: Have Three Chords And The Truth, Will Travel.
What Richie, John, Brian, Jerry and Tim unwittingly have going for them, though, is a regional cult following and a legacy achieved after forming a band at toney Chase Academy in 1965 and getting real good real fast at “singing about confusion and anger and changing the world and freedom, whether they knew what they were playing or not.” Tellingly, it’s a progress that benefits from the odd number of members: "If you put things to as many votes as you’re going to have to, it’s like buying no-tie insurance . . . The Truants wavered between meritocracy and benevolent dictatorship."
It also helps that Brian and Richie turn out to be solid songwriters, and in a Lennon/McCartney style--without the substance--they team up to write their first school dance fave, "Get Psyched." Increasing clashes, however, mean that thereafter they’ll compose individually, with each contributing cryptically personal songs that are ultimately instrumental in finger-pointing recriminations, big secrets and an acrimonious break-up. Before things turn sour, however, The Truants manage to forego their Yokos and leave their egos outside a studio door long enough to record a vanity album, Out of Site, before going their separate ways. Not even enough time for a halfway decent Behind-the-Music downward spiral.
Skipping ahead to 1996, the Truants are on the north side of their forties with contentment heading south. Brian has "spent twenty-some years calling in sick to the nonacademic world" in his Sisyphean struggle to finish his doctoral thesis. Richie is a caddish divorce lawyer looking to change his ways, with John a divorcing dermatologist looking to maintain his. Jerry--he‘s a rebel and he‘ll never, ever be any good--is now a ramblin’, gamblin’ Equal addict, and Tim watches the clock at the Massachusetts Archives, which is like "working at the morgue without all the formaldehyde." Tim also keeps himself busy lovingly protecting his old hidden-away drum set from the clutches of a disapproving wife. It’s a connection to his rock star roots, and the fact the Truants were good enough to document their music on vinyl has a lot of personal, if not commercial, meaning.